Lesson Developed by
What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus? (It Turns Things Upside Down)
Tips to Prepare
- If in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
- If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform
- “The Starfish Story” – printed out or on device
- Laptop or media device with the video of “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons (YouTube clip.)
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
Introduction for Leaders
- Begin with a check in with members
- Ask a group member to read the focal Scripture
- Open with prayer
Select the option that best suits your group’s needs:
Exercise Option 1:
- Read “The Starfish Story”, casting one person each as a narrator, the man, and the boy:
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean. As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water. The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,” I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “It made a difference to that one.”
- Ask questions of the cast: How did it feel to play this role?
- Ask the group to walk to one side of the room (or a corner, or wall) if they believe that that little bit of action makes a difference, and to the other side/corner/wall if they don’t believe that. Ask them to explain their choice.
Exercise Option 2:
- Watch the video clip together. (YouTube clip)
- Discuss how the instruments bring the people alive again, and turn their world upside-down, even if only for a few minutes. Giving people a chance to make their own music allows for beauty to abound.
Reflect Together on the Following Questions:
1. Are any of you picking up on a theme in the book of Luke here? (Actions matter; individuals matter; Jesus cares about each person, etc.)
2. What does it really mean to follow Jesus? How does it change our actions?
3. Is that change fast, or does it take time? Can you give an example of what it might look like?
Close the lesson in prayer (either the leader or a group member)